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Central Market Announces “Passport France” Festival May 9 – 22

Two weeks in Provence coming soon.

Get ready for Central Market’s yearly culinary salute to foreign food. In 2010, we celebrated Argentina (Hi, Francis!). Last year we pigged out on Spain (Hola, Paco!). This year they are throwing a two-week soiree for France, specifically the southern region of Provence, which will begin on May 9 and run through May 22.

Here’s a little poop I learned: Zee hottest ticket will be a seat in the outdoor tent where the kick-off event, “A Taste of Provence,” will feature a sampling of dishes prepared by Chef Patrice Olivon! C’est magnifique! You know Olivon, oui? He’s the cute French dude who won Iron Chef hosts “Dinner is Served,” a lovely show on PBS. It is set for Wednesday, May 9, and begins at 6 p.m.

The menu includes some personal favorites from his childhood (served family-style at long tables), which will be paired with French wines (shocker!). Think: Pissaladiere (thick, pizza-like dish popular in Nice and Marseilles); tomates farcies (tomatoes stuffed with beef, rice & herbs); cod with aioli; roasted lamb with ratatouille; and warm seasonal fruit cooked in red wine served over vanilla ice cream (really?). So frugal Francophiles, get a cheap trip ($35 per person) to Provence, if only for one evening.  Tickets can be booked by clicking here or by visiting the Cooking School reservation site for Dallas.

Sancerre! Profiteroles! A truffle in every pot! Vamos, I mean, nous permettre d’aller!

(Below, I will copy and paste an actual MEDIA-ONLY release so you can get an insider’s look on how real food writing works. I will pair it with commentary from a professional media person.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Loud and clear! Got it. Type fast. Did somebody else get this while I was grabbing a sandwich. Hang on let me check the other sites!]

April 1, 2012 [WTF? Am I late here? It’s April 16. Did this already go out and I am so screwed? Note to self: Google news before you write it. Alternatively, swear under your breath at PR people.]

CENTRAL MARKET PREPARES TO SHARE “L’ART DE VIVRE” [WHY didn’t I think of that hed? (That’s editorial lingo for headline. We are all too lazy to type the whole word out.]

Prepare for a gustatory tour of France’s famously food centric regions [Weak sub. Oh, that’s edit-speak for sub-headline. Waaaay too long to type. “Food-centric regions” in France  is redundant.]

WHO: All Central Market stores across Texas [ Great start. WHO! Always start with WHO. It worked for Horton and it will work for you.]

WHAT: Get ready to celebrate two weeks devoted to France, a country know for its vast array of distinct food and wine offerings. Central Market, a division of H-E-B will host PASSPORT FRANCE May 9 – 22 to explore the delicious to be found in every day France, “a nation of Foodies.” [Yes, it pedestrian but it’s short and to the point and food writers need short. And points. Next.]

This is the specialty retailer’s third foray into a wide-scale international celebration. In 2011, Central Market hosted Passport Spain; and in 2010 it launched with Passport Argentina.  Customers traveled the cultural and culinary landscape of these countries without booking a plane ticket or packing a bag. The events are known for their bounty of exciting food finds, live music and performers, authentic décor and celebrity chef and wine maker visits. [Great insert of backfill information. If I didn’t work here last year, I now know how much great stuff I missed by living in Washington, DC.]

This May, CM store visitors can experience all things French during Central Market’s two-week extravaganza. Hands-on crepe making. Wine tastings hosted by winemakers, some part of multigenerational winemaking families. Stellar chefs such as Anne Willan of La Varenne and Patrice Olivon of PBS and Iron Chef fame will make appearances and host events. “An Introduction to French Cheeses” will be hosted by the Ambassadress of the French Cheese Club. [Okay, I’m fading a little.]

The aisles will be filled with finds from around France, such as La Mere de Poulard cookies, Kougin Amann, aged Comte, Petit Montebourg fresh cheese, Fallot Dijon and hundreds more, many exclusively available at Central Market. [I’m am so back. Those cookies are like crack, heroin, pot, and gin all baked into a thin disc of sin.]

From classes in the art of French cookery to French cheeses, breads and wine tastings, Passport France will take visitors on an incredible gustatory tour with no jet lag. [Well, I am confused. What do I do with all of this Ambien?]

WHEN: May 9 – 22, 2012 [Excellent information. Thank you Central Market for making my job a walk in the freaking park!]

WHERE: Central Market, all store locations: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Plano,  San Antonio, and Southlake. Go to for the latest details and to review classes available in May. Further details will be released as they are available. [Even bettah! There is more to come so I know there will be more to write. My job feels secure. Until the end of May.]

ABOUT CENTRAL MARKET: Central Market’s open, serpentine-flow, full view European-style layout offers a completely new food shopping experience.  A bountiful produce department with unmatched quality and variety, an 80-foot seafood case with selections from throughout the world, hundreds of cheeses, 2,500 wine labels, stupendous specialty grocery aisles with delights from every continent, and a world-class cooking school featuring hands-on instruction are among the features that make the Central Market experience unique. [Oaky, the serpentine-flow thing is getting old, but so am I. The store is really more maze-like but I suppose that would cause people to run for the straight aisles of Tom Thumb. Stupendous is a bit dramatic and delights, well my mind stayed to another train of thought, but I was immediately brought back to reality by the hands-on instruction. Oh, yes. France and hands. Good stuff. Count me in.]

  • wouah

    Nancy has once again established her virtuous dedication to food journalism, this time by ripping apart a regional press release. Let she who has not “oaky’d” cast the first stone. (See final commentary.)

    La Mere Poulard cookies, for those who haven’t had them, are nothing more than animal crackers. Only people like Nancy, who in an effort to prove their culinary superiority, would compare them to crack. No sweetheart, they’re not thin disks of sin. They’re an opportunity for you to point out how well-traveled you are. Well done, Nance. Well done.

    Tearing apart something as inconsequential as a press release, which I imagine was penned by a 20-something at the start of his/her career, doesn’t separate you from the plebs. It’s in poor taste. But, for those of use who regularly read your guff, we expect no less.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Wouah, take a chill pill. I’m not ripping anything. I am attempting to have fun. It was not penned by a 20-something. I know the person who wrote it and she isn’t complaining. Don’t call me Nance.

  • Aimee

    The 36 year old writer of this press release is not offended and would like to point out that her early years of writing for print were led and shaped by none other than Nancy “Nance” Nichols! Nancy taught her the word “gustatory”.
    As a passionate publicist, she would like to ask that the review of her release not overshadow the fact that you can dine with friends and PATRICE OLIVON (WITH WINE!!) for $35 and if you don’t move fast, you may miss it. And that would be quelle tragic. – Cooking School – Dallas to book. Great night out for a big group – send to your friends and have them join you at one of the long tables!

  • Andrew Chalk

    We had better ‘frappée la rue’.


    What fun, go for it. Make sure you have heaps of lavender around to really get the Provencal Scent flowing. All my Lavender Collection uses the finest French Lavender from Provence. Have a great time